Reelin' in the smears

In March, British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Glen Parrett overturned Mike Frazier's Nov. 20 election as mayor of the village of McBride. In a 28-page decision, Parrett ruled that Frazier did not deserve the office because he had passed out knowingly false campaign literature attacking his opponent, Maurice Bonneville.

Reasonable limits

From the confessions of Pakistan's notorious serial killer Javed Iqbal, who surrendered in December after murdering 100 young men (and consistently eluding capture): "I could have killed 500. This was not a problem. Money was not a problem. But the pledge I had taken [when I started the spree] was of 100 children, and I never wanted to violate this."

We shall overlook

Under pressure from the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a Holiday Inn in downtown Minneapolis agreed in January to pay $8,000 each to nine undocumented Mexican immigrants who had been fired for helping to organize a union. One EEOC official compared the men to civil-rights pioneer Rosa Parks for fighting their dismissals, even though they were unlawfully holding the jobs from which they were fired.

Do not go gentle

In January, a Teamsters union local in Chicago decided to step up its continuing protests against the Donnellan Funeral Home. During one funeral, members began to yell chants as a woman's body was taken from Donnellan to a church; shouts of "Who are we? We are Teamsters!" greeted the family's solemn arrival at the house of worship. The next time, a union official vowed, picketers would proceed to the graveside ceremony.

Lost in translation

Charged with lying to police in connection with the 1997 disappearance of their baby, Sabrina (and suspected by some of committing foul play), defendants Steven and Marlene Aisenberg announced in January 2000 that they and their prosecutors in Tampa, Fla., had different interpretations of a crucial piece of evidence: an at-home conversation police captured on audio tape shortly after Sabrina disappeared. The prosecutors' version of Steven's words: "I wish I hadn't harmed her" and "That's the cocaine." The Aisenbergs' version of the very same excerpts: "You know, I'm just saying, honey, because [garbled] feel this way [garbled] people," followed by Marlene asking, "Do you want some more salad, honey?"

Away in a mange

In December, members of a science class at Elizabethton (Tenn.) High School competed in a homeroom-decorating contest by creating a Nativity scene out of dissected cadavers of cats. After many protests, a school official told reporters the teacher was "shocked" that anyone had interpreted the scene as anti-Nativity. Most reactions to the display, she said, were positive.

Turn for the worst

In November, a San Francisco jury acquitted Albertinah Mkhize, 71, of all charges in the June 1999 death of a 10-month-old boy she hit in a crosswalk while making a right turn. A few hours before the collision, Mkhize had flunked her state driver's test by making an unsafe left turn. According to a police investigation, Mkhize's brakes were fine, but she convinced a jury that they were, unbeknownst to her, defective.

People who need people

In March, Adam Brooks Jr., 17, admitted to a judge in Columbus, Ohio, that he had broken into a woman's home, tied her up and then stolen her car. According to the 76-year-old victim, Brooks came back in from her garage three times before he finally left: twice to get her to teach him the use of the garage-door opener and once for a lesson in operating a car with an automatic transmission.

Breaking all the mules

In March, police at Bogota's El Dorado airport arrested a woman who had about four pounds of cocaine sewn into her oversized, flesh-colored underwear; though the garments were designed to allay suspicion, they allegedly made her breasts and buttocks look too large and unnaturally shaped. And a week earlier, Tirsa Ruiz, 43, attempted to smuggle a 7.65mm pistol to a leftist-rebel inmate at Colombia's La Picota prison by hiding it in her rectum. Once inside the prison, she was unable to expel the gun and was rushed to a hospital with severe cramps.

Hemorrhaging money

In 1996 and 1999, News of the Weird reported that hospitals in developing countries (Zaire and Iran, respectively) were experiencing cash-flow problems that resulted in strong-arm tactics being used on patients who could not pay their bills. The problem persists: In January, friends brought mugging victim Wilson Owuor to a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, but were turned away when Owuor was unable to make a deposit. The men commandeered a stretcher, put Owuor on it and took him to his branch of the Kenya Commercial Bank to withdraw money so that he could be admitted to the hospital.

Hole in the head

In a case of mistaken identity, an Auburn, Calif., dentist recently removed two teeth from an 8-year-old boy who was merely waiting for his sister in the reception area.

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